Posts Tagged ‘Pinterest’

We recently blogged about Pinterest copyright issues and the careful measures businesses must take when creating a company Pinterest account. In a nutshell, everything pinned must have either been generated by the owner of the Pinterest account or is content that the user has explicit rights to or written permission to post.

What if you’re just an average Pinterest user looking for ideas to redecorate your house, DIY tips, or you want to visually browse locales for your next vacation?

My advice – though in no way legally sound – is to use your discretion. You’re an individual using the site for recreation, not a business trying to make a profit, a big sticking point for copyright suits. For example, websites like MarthaStewart.com have a button that lets you easily pin the site’s vast database of craft, cooking and home and garden ideas. According to TechDirt, it’s the top social referrer for MarthaStewart.com with more traffic than Twitter and Facebook combined. Martha Stewart wants you to pin away!

But there are still many unknowns when it comes to how Pinterest copyright violations will be dealt with. Will there be a YouTube-like approach with illegal videos being pulled and accounts closed when necessary, or will this be another Napster situation where 12-year-old girls find themselves in the middle of a hefty lawsuit?  We’ll keep close tabs on the situation; in the meantime, take a look at your existing pins to avoid any trouble.

Thinking about what you are pinning and how you create the pin will help you stay in the clear.

  • Websites have the option to prevent its content from being pinned, don’t try to find a way around this.
  • Give proper credit to the original source. Make sure that the creator is mentioned in your pin and that it links back to the original webpage.
  • Don’t include the recipe or instructions in the body copy of the pin, make sure your followers will have to click on the link to the original post for more details after being enticed by the photograph.
  • Avoid pinning material that equates to someone’s livelihood. In other words, shots from professional photographers, artwork, choreography and other original designs that could be for sale are strictly off-limits.
  • Think about the content you want to pin. A clothing company should be receptive to a user pinning one of its outfits if you take the time to link back to the site where you can purchase the apparel. A landscape photographer probably won’t appreciate you pinning his or her stunning waterfall shot.

Most will enjoy the benefits that pinning can bring. Remember, the site is just for imagery so if you want to know the instructions or background behind the post, a proper pin will lead you to the website or blog that originally posted the idea, creating increased traffic for the content creator.

So just use common sense. Before pinning think about the content and if its creator would want it shared with the world.



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It’s inevitable that a new company, product or service will encounter issues and problems in its early stages. When it’s one of the fastest growing social networks, these bumps in the road happen in a very public way.

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about Pinterest, the latest Internet sensation, where users can “pin” images, video and more to their pin boards and follow other boards that appeal to their own interests. Just last month the social network grew 52 percent to 17.8 million unique visitors.

Unfortunately, copyright issues have thrown a roadblock that is keeping the social network on its toes as it tries to quickly adjust to mend legal issues while keeping its strong momentum. In the beginning, Pinterest discouraged self-promotion and suggested its users share content they did not create – a copyright red flag if I ever saw one.

The company has now issued an updated terms of service with an easier to understand policy on copyright and trademark infringement as well as change in direction of asking users to either pin content they own or have permission to pin.

It’s important to know, that due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, sites like Pinterest and YouTube are well protected from any type of copyright suits – the onus falls directly on the individual user, you agree to this when signing up for the site.

So, as a business looking to create a company Pinterest account, how do you keep yourself out of trouble on Pinterest? Bottom line, the absolute safest route is to only post content that you have either created or have written permission from the creator to pin.

There are still a lot of unknowns in terms of how copyright infringements will be dealt with. As of this post, there has not been an official suit filed. Businesses are undoubtedly going to be held to different standards than the mother of three who is looking for rainy day craft projects. Additionally, profit is another sticking point for copyright suits.

Treat Pinterest just as any other website – you certainly wouldn’t post something you don’t have rights to on your company homepage – and don’t use Pinterest any differently.

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